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New “return to work” initiative for Utahns who lost jobs due to COVID-19 pandemic

Gov. Spencer Cox and Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson announce Utah's new returnship initiative on April 1, 2021. (screengrab)

SALT LAKE CITY — A return to work for Utah adults who have been out of the workforce for extended periods of time is about to get a little easier.

Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson announced that the state has added $15 million to the “Learn and Work in Utah” grant program to create a new returnship program.

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A returnship is similar to an internship but is designed for older adults already in the workforce or who were forced out because of the COVID-19 economic repercussions.

The grant will go toward helping those in the military, caregivers, retirees, and others the opportunity to receive newer and current experience skills and training in order to return to the workplace.

“Our returnship program is meant to help people get back to work, and there are two track that we are proposing,” Lt. Gov. Henderson said.

“The first track will provide returnship opportunities in state government and with Utah businesses. This path is for those who don’t necessarily need additional education,” Lt. Gov. Henderson said. “We’re also inviting businesses to step up and offer their own returnship programs.”

The announcement was made Thursday outside the offices of Northrop Grumman, which according to the Lt. Governor is one of the businesses that already offers returnship programs.

“The second track that we’re providing does provide short-term training opportunities at Utah colleges and universities.”

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A portion of the money that Gov. Cox has set aside for the Learn and Work in Utah Program will go toward a study of current workforce needs in Utah, and where industry believes more workers are needed.

The existing “Learn and Work” program is supported by the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development through the Talent Ready Utah Center and the Utah System of Higher Education.

The Talent Ready Utah initiative brings Utah industry together with education outlets.

The two agencies will provide enhanced funding for training programs that are currently available to unemployed, underemployed, and vulnerable workers across Utah. 

To learn more, please visit the website of the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development. Or call 801-538-8680.